The European Health Insurance Card (abbreviated to *EHIC* and also sometimes referred to as the E111) has been around for years now, but seems to be a rather well-kept secret. Few people are aware that it exists, but it ís something that everyone should have if they travel to other countries in the European Economic Area (or EEA).
The card is free of charge, can be applied for online or by post, is valid for three to five years, and all UK residents are entitled to one. Although it does not provide an alternative to travel insurance (indeed, it is sometimes mandatory for some policies, and can also reduce or remove a policy excess on others) it does provide access to state provided emergency medical treatment for either illness or accident, as well as routine healthcare for pre-existing conditions and maternity care.
Non-emergency costs (flights home for example) are not covered and, as different countries provide different levels of free care, a contribution to the costs of certain treatments may be required. This can often be claimed back from the NHS on your return. Basically, you will be treated on the same basis as a resident of the country you are in. The NHS have a section on their website that gives information country by country and there’s also a Facebook page where you can post questions to be answered.
However, even with the small print, this card is a ‘must have’ for European travel. It will usually get you instant access to treatment in an emergency, without having to jump through hoops with insurance companies if you need to go to A&E whilst abroad, and means you get access to ongoing medical requirement like kidney dialysis.
So, for added peace of mind and reassurance when travelling on the continent, make your application here.
This is a guest post from Sunny Dee who have just launched a ‘Tips & Advice’ section about activities with children.